COVID-19 Industry Communications Center–Updated
By Jack Burke27 May 2020
With the unprecedented impact of the Coronavirus on the industry, Diesel and Gas Turbine Worldwide will maintain a running news feed of the latest information involving COVID-19. If you have news to share, please contact editor Jack Burke at email@example.com.
Monday, June 1
Wabtec releases air-filtration system
Wabtec Corp. launched BlueFilter, an n air-filtration device designed to provide a clean, healthy environment for passengers on metro and trains. The TÜV-tested filter continuously provides fresh and clean air onboard metro and railcars by removing more than 90 percent of contaminants per air cycle.
“Transit authorities around the world face a tremendous challenge as the pandemic dissipates and life begins to return to normal,” said Lilian Leroux, President of Wabtec’s Transit Business. “They are looking for solutions that enhance safety, improve the air quality and reassure their passengers of a clean environment in the railcars. The BlueFilter provides transit operators that confidence by dramatically reducing contaminants in the railcars compared to today’s standard filters.”
BlueFilter’s design removes contaminants that are .01 to 1000 micrometers in size. That includes allergens, bacteria, various dusts and viruses. By comparison, today’s standard filters typically only remove particles that are between 10 to 1,000 micrometers in size, which only includes contaminants such as pollen, most dusts and some bacteria.
“This feature enables operators to immediately improve the air quality for their passengers and employees,” said Leroux. “BlueFilter is designed for the easy installation and application on current HVAC systems, which minimizes the time needed to add this important safety innovation to an operator’s fleet.”
The BlueFilter has been tested by two independent labs, including TÜV North Group. Additionally, Wabtec partnered with transit operators to field test the product. The testing demonstrated that BlueFilter provides transit operators a healthy, safe environment for their fleets without impacting the HVAC performance. It is an air quality breakthrough for the rail industry as riders return to commuter trains.
Wednesday, May 20
Siemens CEO addresses leadership in times of crisis
Siemens President and CEO Joe Kaeser wrote an essay titled “Leadership in times of crisis” that discusses the challenges and opportunities arising from the Covid-19 epidemic:
“The Covid-19 pandemic challenges the world in countless ways. Hundreds of thousands of people have lost their lives. Lockdowns, quarantines and social-distancing measures have led to massive fallout for the global economy, putting the future of many companies at risk – especially small and medium enterprises. From February to the end of March, global stock markets lost around one-third of their value and have remained volatile ever since. Unemployment has skyrocketed, especially in economies where “hire and fire” is still the preferred way to deal with volatility in demand.”
Read the rest of the piece at LinkedIn.
Tuesday, May 12
IMO issues PPE guidance
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) issued the following statement regarding the use of personal protective equipment (PPE):
Shipping is vital to the world supply chain. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is crucial that all personnel involved are protected from infection, including those onboard ships and shore personnel who may need to temporarily go on ships or interact with seafarers.
IMO has circulated World Health Organization (WHO) guidance on the safe and effective use of personal protective equipment (PPE), to support decisions on use of PPE to minimize the risks of COVID-19 infection for seafarers, marine personnel, fishing vessel personnel, passengers and others onboard ships. This guidance also applies to shore personnel intending to go onboard (such as pilots, port workers, port State control officers, shipʹs agents, etc.); and when any of these people interact with each other. The PPE guidance is available here (CL.No.4204/Add.15
To support decision making and risk assessment, IMO has also circulated practical measures to address COVID-19 risks for all people involved on ships and in ports when they may need to interact with each other, available here (CL.No.4204/Add.16). Recognizing that there are differences in national requirements, the guidelines propose a straightforward system to evaluate the risks and communicate the control measures that will be put in place, by mutual agreement, to reduce infection risk. They also propose simple steps and precautions to take if attendance onboard a ship is unavoidable. These include minimising the number of persons attending; using outer walkways rather than access through the crew accommodation; frequently cleaning hands and maintaining social distancing.
The COVID-19 related guidelines for ensuring a safe shipboard interface between ship and shore-based personnel were proposed by a broad cross section of global industry associations in consultative status with IMO: ICS, IAPH, BIMCO, IACS, IFSMA, IMPA, INTERTANKO, P&I Clubs, CLIA, INTERCARGO, InterManager, IPTA, FONASBA, and WSC; and also take account of input from the International Maritime Employers’ Council (IMEC) and the International Support Vessel Owners Association (ISOA).
Thursday, May 7
EIA: Covid-19 affecting U.S. electricity demand
Recent business shutdowns and changes to normal routines related to mitigation efforts for Covid-19 have caused daily weekday electricity demand in the central region of the United States to decrease by 9%–13% in March and April compared with expected demand, after accounting for seasonal temperature changes, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).
This decrease is similar to declines seen in New York. In contrast, other areas of the country, such as Florida, have not experienced significant changes, which may partly be caused by regional differences in how much electricity each end-use sector consumes and the varying effects of Covid-19 mitigation efforts on the sectors.
The EIA’s Hourly Electric Grid Monitor provides hourly electricity demand data from the 64 balancing authorities in the contiguous United States. Using these data, EIA compared the daily electricity demand of each weekday in 2020 through May 1 to the average demand of all weekdays with the same daily average temperature from January through June in 2016–2019. Weekends and holidays were excluded.
Wednesday, May 6
Alfa Laval increases production despite pandemic
Alfa Laval said it continues to meet global production demands for its PureBallast 3 ballast water treatments from its Aalborg, Denmark, production site after quickly adapting to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown measures from the Danish government.
“While the world has slowed down, the implementation of the ballast water management convention remains unchanged,” said Peter Sahlén, head of Alfa Laval PureBallast. “We simply must continue meeting our customers’ needs, regardless of the obstacles.”
Alfa Laval said it is securing customer deliveries, even with far fewer people on the factory floor, through a combination of rapid response and innovative thinking. The company said it took swift action to implement protective measures for employees, but also to secure components and materials that would be needed in the coming months. When the Danish government imposed a strict lockdown on March 11, the factory in Aalborg was well prepared, the company said.
“We moved quickly from two shifts to three shifts, working in smaller teams that can easily maintain a safe distance,” said Søren Nord Larsen, who manages the factory in Aalborg. “There’s no contact between shifts. So, if one of our workers should be infected, we can lift the entire shift out without impacting the others or any customer deliveries.”
Even meals and breaks are taken individually, at different times. Tools are carefully handled and disinfected regularly, and support functions like purchasing and production planning are managed digitally to the greatest extent possible.
“It’s tough to change so quickly and dramatically, but colleagues have really taken the situation with a positive attitude and adapted to the new routines,” Larsen said. “Many come with their own ideas for improving things, because everyone wants this to happen for our customers.”
Alfa Laval said it has managed to increase production during the same period. “We’ve proven that this can be done, and we’re not simply maintaining the status quo,” said Larsen. “In March we set a record of 400 systems produced for the quarter, and our deliveries for the quarter were yet another all-time high.”
For Sahlén, the high productivity in Aalborg builds on Alfa Laval’s long-term planning. “We’ve made extensive preparations for ramp-up in the last two years, and that readiness has served us well in this unusual situation,” Sahlén says. “We already had a systematic overview and allocated resources, which made it easier to recalibrate. Together with our customers we will make it through this situation – and our production will be even stronger on the other side.”
Tuesday, May 5
SMM Trade Show Postponed
The major marine show, SMM, held in Hamburg has been postponed because of the impact of COVID-19 and will now take place from February 2-5, 2021.
SMM was due to start on September 7 this year but has been put back by eight months by the organizers.
SMM is regarded as one of the world’s key events for the maritime equipment and shipbuilding industry and in 2018 it attracted 2,250 exhibitors from 67 countries and approximately 50,000 visitors.
In a statement to exhibitors and visitors the organizer said: “Looking at the restrictions on major events as well as the international travel bans due to the dynamic course of the coronavirus pandemic, we took a decision that will benefit everyone. Instead of running SMM as planned in September, we are postponing it to the beginning of next year.
“SMM is now scheduled to take place from 2 – 5 February 2021. We are convinced that global business travel will be possible again at this time, and we hope that the new date will give you the necessary planning security. All visitor and conference tickets that have been ordered so far remain valid for the new date.
“The maritime industry’s leading trade fair is fully booked, and as its organizer, we are in close contact with the responsible health authorities and health and security executives of main exhibitors. So, you can rest assured that all hygienic and safety requirements are met to secure your health and well-being at SMM. That’s why we keep on looking forward to welcoming visitors from over 120 nations, who meet with more than 2,200 exhibitors, take part in high-profile conferences, foster cross-sector exchange, connect with peers, and party together – yes, the social thing we almost forgot.
“We are aware that you may have questions regarding your participation at SMM. On our website, we provide answers and important information for visitors and exhibitors. Please read them carefully and feel free to contact us if you have further questions.”
Monday, May 4
Volvo Penta making PPE
At two of its North American facilities, Volvo Penta is producing and distributing personal protective equipment (PPE) to healthcare workers in the local communities and beyond.
The efforts are part of an ongoing initiative from Volvo Group North America which plans to supply thousands of PPE units to healthcare operations across the country.
The Volvo Penta engineering team at the company’s U.S. headquarter office in Chesapeake, Virginia has led development of medical face shields. Utilizing a Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) 3D printing system and leveraging mask components manufactured by other Volvo Group business areas, the company delivered face shields to Chesapeake Regional Healthcare and has plans to continue production for further distribution.
At Volvo Penta’s engineering office in Germantown, Wisconsin, the staff has focused on development of ear guards which help to alleviate pain often experienced by healthcare workers wearing face masks. To date, more than 1000 units of this protective equipment have been shipped to hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and pharmacies in seven states including: Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Florida, Michigan, Nevada and Wisconsin.
“Together with our colleagues from Volvo Group North America, we are honored to support relief efforts and help protect those serving on the front lines of this pandemic,” said Martin Bjuve, president of Volvo Penta of the Americas.
In addition to the PPE production efforts, Volvo Penta also made a charitable donation to the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and Eastern Shore to support those in the Hampton Roads community where the organization is based. Across Volvo Group North America, financial aid, medical supplies, purchasing expertise and other in-kind donations to nonprofits have been provided in multiple locations.
Wednesday, April 29
Sensor+Test show canceled
Due to the still existing critical risk inherent in the Covid-19 pandemic, Sensor+Test, which was scheduled for June 23-25 in Germany, has been canceled.
The event is a forum for sensors, measuring and testing technologies worldwide. The 2019 trade fair was expected to have 538 exhibitors from 34 nations presenting the entire spectrum of measuring and testing system expertise from sensors to computers. The conferences in parallel to the exhibition—the SMSI2020 Sensor and Measurement Science International and the ettc2020 European Test and Telemetry Conference—are also canceled. The next Sensor+Test will be held May 4-6, 2021.
Event organizers said the internet portal for the Sensor+Test 2020 will remain online, updating notifications and innovations from the exhibitors. The event newsletter and information submitted by the exhibitors will continue to be published via the various social media channels.
Organizers also plan to publish the lectures for the forums and conferences as manuscripts, presentations, or podcasts.
Donaldson provides business update
Donaldson, a leading worldwide provider of innovative filtration products and solutions, provided this business update in response to the evolving Covid-19 pandemic.
“Our top priorities include the health and safety of our employees, fulfilling customer commitments and doing our part to help stop the spread of Covid-19, and I am extremely proud of how our company has responded,” said Tod Carpenter, chairman, president and chief executive officer. “I want to thank our employees for doing an excellent job coordinating and collaborating in this challenging environment, and I want to especially acknowledge our front-line workers for showing incredible dedication to our customers. We are honored to support the remarkable contributions of today’s heroes – those who are working on farms, transporting goods, producing food and medicine, and tirelessly protecting people’s health. On behalf of Donaldson Company, I thank all the people who keep our world moving forward.
“Donaldson has 105 years of experience managing complex and dynamic situations, and our robust capabilities are complemented by the strength of our diverse portfolio of filtration businesses. We support critical markets, including manufacturing, transportation, agriculture, defense and food and beverage, and we have a solid base of replacement part sales that make up more than 60% of our total sales. Additionally, our stable financial position allows us to continue pursuing long-term opportunities, like winning first-fit programs and expanding further into strategically important markets and geographies. Through our dedicated employees, deep customer relationships and strong value proposition as a technology-led filtration company, I am confident that we will successfully navigate this fluid environment.”
Donaldson has implemented a variety of countermeasures to promote the health and safety of its employees and their families during this pandemic, including business travel restrictions, remote work capabilities, social distancing practices, increased cleaning frequency and thoroughness, temperature screenings and quarantine protocols. The Company is also investing to support its employees during the outbreak, including COVID-19 paid leave and employee assistance programs. The Company’s practices and policies are informed by recommendations from public health authorities, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, and World Health Organization, which are being closely monitored by Donaldson’s crisis response team.
Donaldson continually aligns its worldwide manufacturing resources as customer needs and market conditions change. Many of Donaldson’s business lines are considered “essential” or “critical” by governmental agencies, so the Company has maintained operations at nearly all its facilities. The Company has experienced temporary closures at a small number of facilities in certain regions, reflecting Donaldson’s compliance with local mandates and support of its employees. With its global footprint, region-to-support region production strategy, strong network of high-quality suppliers, and diverse business composition, Donaldson has avoided meaningful operational disruption and continues to support its customers around the world.
Monday, April 27
InnoTrans trade fair picks new dates
Innotrans, the trade fair for transport technology originally scheduled for Sept. 22-25 in Berlin, will now be held April 27-30 2021.
In order to contain the spread of SARS-CoV-2 the Senate of Berlin imposed a ban earlier this month on staging large events, in particular trade fairs with an attendance of more than 5000, until Oct. 24. As a result, it will not be possible for Messe Berlin to hold InnoTrans as originally planned.
After consulting with the co-founding associations of InnoTrans and the leading market players Messe Berlin has decided to postpone InnoTrans 2020.
“The health and safety of exhibitors, trade visitors and all the employees at the trade fair have the utmost priority. For this reason, InnoTrans will take place from 27 to 30 April 2021. We would like to take this opportunity to thank our exhibitors at InnoTrans for their cooperation and loyalty “, said Kerstin Schulz, director of InnoTrans.
Wednesday, April 22
InnoTrans trade fair to reschedule
After the government said it was banning all events of more than 5000 people through Oct. 24, organizers of the InnoTrans trade fair for transport technology said they would reschedule the event. The trade fair was originally scheduled for Sept. 22-25 in Berlin. Organizers said they would have a new date by early May.
Tuesday, April 21
Ballast water technology could fight Coronavirus
The ultra-violet light technology used to kill the invasive species found in ships’ ballast water tanks can be used to protect seafarers, health workers and fist-responders from picking up the Coronavirus from surfaces.
Following research by the France-based company behind the BIO-SEA ballast water treatment, a surface disinfection system will be ready for market introduction by the end of May.
A prototype scanner based around BIO-UV Group’s proven UV-C reactor technology is currently being independently verified.
The 50cm handheld device emits a ray of UV-C which is passed over the surface, taking only seconds to disinfect the scanned area. The scanner can be used to kill the coronavirus from sickbay/hospital beds, tables, computer keyboards, furniture and all other surfaces.
In parallel, BIO-UV Group subsidiary TRIOGEN is currently working on the development of a disinfection system for wet surfaces using ozone.
BIO-UV Group’s founder and CEO Benoít Gillmann said: “We mobilized our R&D team to develop a system of disinfection for surfaces intended, as a priority, for all nursing staff. However, the technology has potential application in other sectors.”
BIO-UV Group is verifying the capabilities, performance and reliability of the prototype in two CE-approved laboratories.
“Since 6 April, progress has been made in the completion of a prototype, the performance of which is currently being tested in compliance with the strictest of international standards,” said Gillmann.
“The aim of this testing is to validate the system’s capacity to disinfect and to eliminate all types of microorganisms using UV-C technology. Once this testing has been finalized, a second laboratory will work over the next few weeks on testing the efficacy of the system in eliminating Covid-19.”
If the UV-C scanner’s efficiency is successfully demonstrated, it will be introduced to medical personnel and healthcare workers from the end of May.
“At a later stage, the system will be marketed to other industrial sectors, including the maritime sector to help safeguard our seafarers from being infected. Marketing will go ahead once CE marking has been obtained,” Gillmann said.
“The objective of this development is to ensure people are working in safe, clean environments and to reassure those coming out of confinement,” he said.
ASME Turbo Expo postponed
Organizers of the event released the following statement:
The current situation related to the COVID-19 virus is challenging our lives, both on the professional as well as the private side. While we are all affected by this situation, so are ASME and Turbo Expo. The management of the ExCeL London convention center in London, UK, (the location where Turbo Expo is scheduled to be held) has recently informed ASME that the venue is being used as a field hospital (NHS Nightingale) and will not be vacating the premises until June 26, 2020. As a consequence, Turbo Expo cannot be held as planned. Therefore, we are exploring other value propositions including virtual presentations to bring the strong connection and content of Turbo Expo to you.
Regardless, ASME will publish the papers from Turbo Expo 2020 through our usual channels. We are working with the conference organizing committee to finalize the timing of paper publication.
To help ASME determine the feasibility and interest of delivering alternative options for the content of Turbo Expo, we will be sending out a survey. A link to this survey will also be made available here. Your answers to this survey will be instrumental in allowing us to plan a viable solution to bring the content of Turbo Expo 2020, to you.
We will provide updates on this website with options to participate in Turbo Expo 2020 soon. Thank you.
Monday, April 20
ACWA Power helping Egyptian government
ACWA Power, a leading energy and water desalination provider, has donated EGP 5.5 million to Tahya Misr Fund with an aim to support the Egyptian government’s efforts in mitigating the impact of Covid-19. The contribution reinforces ACWA Power’s social commitment to supporting the relief and prevention measures of the countries it operates in, and safeguarding the health and safety of its communities.
The EGP 5 million pledge to Tahya Misr Fund will be directed towards the purchase of ventilators and RT-PCR detection kits to boost the testing capacity for COVID-19 across Egypt. The Tahya Misr Fund is a donation-based national fund that aids state agencies and societal organizations in addressing crises in Egypt, in partnership with the private sector.
ACWA Power said its pledge emphasizes its full solidarity and support of the robust endeavors that the Egyptian government has undertaken, under the leadership of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to battle the repercussions of the pandemic. Simultaneously, it brings to light the crucial role played by international companies and the business community in mobilizing expertise and capabilities to support governments in overcoming such situations.
In addition, ACWA Power continues to support the government and local communities by continuing operations of its projects, aligned with the Egyptian government’s vision for establishing a sustainable infrastructure, to keep pace with the growing demand for water and power consumption in the country.
ACWA Power’s current portfolio includes Benban PV IPP in Aswan, with a production capacity of 120 MW; Kom Ombo PV generating 200 MW; Dairut-Luxor IPP which will deliver 2250 MW upon completion.
Husky Energy cuts more costs, shutters some production
For the second time since December, Husky Energy said it is significantly reducing capital expenditures and shutting in negative cash margin production as further measures to strengthen its business given market conditions caused by Covid-19.
“We have taken immediate action to preserve our balance sheet and core business in this commodity price environment,” said CEO Rob Peabody. “Our focus remains on health and safety, and on increasing Husky’s resilience.
“As the market rebalances supply with demand over a very short period in North America, negative cash margins before operating costs are occurring. Reducing production minimizes our negative cash margin exposure.”
Husky said it has important advantages in the current economic environment, including: a strong balance sheet, an Integrated Corridor that includes a sizeable midstream and downstream segment, and Offshore operations underpinned by long-term gas contracts in the Asia Pacific region.
Husky’s plan includes:
- Continuing to advance process and occupational safety performance
- Reducing and deferring all discretionary capital spending
- Liquidity improvements
- Reducing production and refinery throughput to address near-term negative cash margins until supply and demand is rebalanced
Western Canada oil and gas production is being reduced or shut in. No further capital expenditures are planned in 2020.
In the Atlantic region, major construction activities related to the West White Rose Project have been suspended due to COVID-19. Production at the main White Rose field continues, with enhanced workforce control measures designed to ensure safe operations on the SeaRose floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel. Husky has a 72.5% working interest in the White Rose field and a 68.8% working interest in the satellite extensions, including West White Rose.
The planned drydock for the Terra Nova FPSO vessel is being reviewed by the operator and alternative options are being considered to complete maintenance work and asset-life extension activities. Husky has a 13% working interest in the Terra Nova oil field.
In the Asia Pacific region, production at the Liwan Gas Project offshore China has returned to full rates following an extended Chinese New Year break related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Husky has a 49% working interest in the Liwan 3-1 and Liuhua 34-2 fields.
The Liuhua 29-1 field at Liwan is advancing towards first production by the end of 2020. Husky holds a 75% working interest in the field, which once fully ramped up will add approximately 9,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day to its fixed-price Asia Pacific production.
The BD Project in the Madura Strait offshore Indonesia has returned to full rates following planned maintenance in the first quarter. Husky has a 40% working interest in the project.
Husky previously announced 2020 spending reductions of US$1 billion, including US$900 million in capital expenditures and US$100 million in cost-saving measures.
Friday, April 17
GE CEO’s Coronavirus statement
GE Chairman and CEO Larry Culp released this statement on LinkedIn:
This week, GE turned 128 years old. When you look back at our history, there are countless stories of resiliency and innovative contributions where our people have helped move the world forward. From helping to electrify the world and producing the first jet engine in the U.S. to supporting the troops during World War II – GE has always stepped up in key moments in history.
Since the first day I walked through the door at GE, I’ve been impressed by the grit and resilience of our more than 200,000 employees. But few things in life have inspired me as much as watching our workers rise to the challenges now facing our world.
GE is responsible for one-third of the world’s electricity. We help doctors and families in moments that matter. Planes with our engines fly to every corner of the globe. Our people deliver consistently not in spite of difficulties, but because of them.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we are focused, more than anything, on keeping our employees safe. We’re encouraging as many people as possible to work from home. But given the mission-critical work we do at GE, not everyone can stay home. For the employees out in the field helping essential services like hospitals, electricity grids and water utilities, we’re making sure they have all they need to do their job safely.
Take, for example, the team at our Madison, Wisconsin, ventilator factory who are working in three shifts around the clock to produce much-needed breathing equipment for patients. Tutku Gövsa, a computer scientist, is one of 100 GE employees and retirees who have moved from office jobs to the factory floor to help speed production. When asked about his decision to volunteer, Gövsa said, “There is an urgency not only for the company, but for the entire world.”
Tyler Vermey, known around GE Healthcare as the “valve guru” for his expertise on the vital components that regulate the oxygen and airflow on ventilators, also answered the call to help. He drove through a snowstorm 1,400 miles from Utah to Wisconsin to work the night shift. Jimmy Beacham, chief engineer for advanced manufacturing at GE Healthcare, is now living in a hotel and working on new ways 3D printing can help suppliers ramp up production.
We’re seeing that kind of common purpose across the businesses. In Pensacola, Florida, Caroline Shaw, a sourcing manager at GE Renewable Energy’s wind turbine factory, is using 3D printing to make protective shields to help extend the life of N95 masks. Josh Mook, an innovation executive at GE Additive in Cincinnati, is part of a team 3D printing parts that make it possible to assemble personal protective equipment for clinicians from off-the-shelf hard hats and visors. They delivered their first shields to TriHealth, one of the key healthcare providers in greater Cincinnati, a few weeks ago.
In Oregon, Jeff Terry, chief executive of GE Healthcare’s clinical command centers, and his team are working with hospitals to use artificial intelligence to maximize lifesaving resources such as ICUs, ventilators and negative pressure beds. “It is constantly connecting the dots, alerting to risks and making suggestions where the system can create capacity,” Terry says.
And we have managers helping clinicians globally on the front lines. Antonio Spera, the head of GE Healthcare in Italy, has been working with a team of 200 GE engineers and technicians to make sure doctors and nurses have diagnostic tools needed to help patients in their hospitals. From their kitchens, Antonio and his team have been securely checking on imaging systems and virtually training medical staff on new equipment.
Beyond COVID-19, we continue to work to deliver critical infrastructure across our industries.
In the Middle East, Ibrahim Zein, service manager for Qatar and Oman at FieldCore, has been working with a team of engineers in Kuwait who, unable to return to their home countries due to government-directed travel restrictions, have completed nearly 7,000 combined hours of work for our customers beyond the job that they originally traveled there to do in February.
GE Aviation powers two-thirds of the military aircraft around the world. Each day, our GE Aviation employees are working hard to produce engines and components and provide essential support and maintenance to our military customers. We’re proud of this work as hundreds of military aircraft around the world are in the air daily to assist in critical areas needed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
There is no other company in the world that delivers what we do. No other group of employees that repeatedly rises to the challenge to develop technologies that are fundamental to the world. This is what we signed up for. This is what we are capable of. And, at this moment in time, when the world is facing the worst pandemic in a century, it is what the world is asking of us again. It is asking us to continue to deliver our vital healthcare equipment, keep the power on, and fly supplies where they are needed most. It is asking for GE, and we will continue to answer the call.
ASME Turbo Expo still set for June
ASME, which organizes the annual Turbomachinery Technical Conference and Exposition, said the event will go on as scheduled from June 22-26 in London. The group released this statement:
ASME is monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation to ensure the health and safety of our meeting and conference participants, as well as our staff. We will also be monitoring the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) as the situation progresses.
As of this date, the conference is currently scheduled to take place. Please continue your work in the expectation that the conference will occur. All dates in the current Publications Schedule will be followed. Should it be determined that the conference may need to be postponed, canceled, or held virtually instead of in-person for the health and safety of all, ASME has committed to offering the option of publishing the papers through our usual channels. If postponed, ASME will work with the conference organizing committee to determine whether the papers will be published at the time of the scheduled conference or delayed until the rescheduled one.
ZF Assists in manufacturing 100 000 face masks
ZF North America’s Northfield, Michigan, USA, site has partnered with Pontiac, Mich.-based manufacturer Detroit Sewn to help with the fight against the Covid-19 virus. A shipment of 100,000 face masks is expected to be delivered to Detroit Sewn by the end of April.
Developed for frontline healthcare workers and individuals in the community with high risk for infection, such as soup kitchens, nursing homes and other essential organizations, these masks will contribute to the fight against the contagion as ZF shifts production of some of its normal automotive safety products to this now critically needed item.
“The world is facing a situation unlike anything our generation has seen before and while the challenge may seem impossible, now more than ever, it’s the support of each and every individual and company working together that is truly making a difference,” said Martin Fischer, president of ZF North America and member of the board of management of the ZF Group. “It’s an honor for us to join in the fight to help protect frontline healthcare workers and everyone who is caring for others during this difficult time. We hope we can not only do our part to make a difference, but to encourage others to contribute as we get through this together.”
ZF’s Passive Safety Systems division operates 42 locations in 19 countries with nearly 40 000 employees including its joint ventures. It has longstanding expertise in inflatable restraints including driver, passenger, side, curtain, knee and interaction airbags and designs, develops and supplies all aspects of an airbag system including specialized cut-and-sew capabilities to shape and produce air bag designs customized to the application.
Traditionally a full-service cut-and-sew manufacturer, Detroit Sewn recently restructured its operations to focus solely on the production of masks and gowns that protect healthcare workers and other essential service workers against Covid-19. The company employs 25 people on two shifts and is also supplying fabric to other manufacturing organizations like ZF that have industrial sewing expertise and who can assist with the fight against this disease.
“We are proud and grateful that seven manufacturing and sewing partners including ZF have joined with us to fulfill the urgent need for masks that meet CDC guidelines,” said Karen Buscemi, CEO of Detroit Sewn. “With our partners’ help along with support from G1 Impact, our nonprofit fiscal sponsor, we have the infrastructure in place to produce more than 300 000 masks in the short term – and the orders continue to roll in daily from health systems and nonprofits.”
Thursday, April 16
Yanmar offering an online service for free
Yanmar Engineering Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of Yanmar Holdings Co., Ltd. will provide its auxiliary diesel engine management service SHIPSWEB free of charge from until March 31, 2021.
SHIPSWEB is a technology platform for providing customers that manage large ocean-going vessels with timely technical information.
With fears growing over protracted spread of the novel coronavirus, Yanmar has decided support users by offering its SHIPSWEB online service free of charge, so that customers can go about their vessel’s everyday maintenance with peace of mind.
Tuesday, April 14
Opra Turbines Donates Masks, Gloves
Opra Turbines said it received 20 000 masks, 40 000 gloves and other protective gear from its Chinese shareholder company and donated the material to Medisch Spectrum Twente hospital in Enschede, the Netherlands.
Covid-19 Affecting Power Use In US
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has found that the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way Americans use electricity.
The EIA, which tracks electricity demand across the U.S. electric grid on an hourly basis, said that because of Covid-19, grid operators have seen not only reduced weekday electricity demand relative to expectations for this time of year and current weather but also changes in daily electricity usage profiles.
Grid operators have reported less electricity demand and a delay in the morning increase in power useage as schools, workplaces, and businesses have closed to slow the spread of COVID-19, the EIA said.
Traditionally, the biggest drivers of U.S. electricity demand are temperature, time of day, and day of week. Electricity demand is highest in the summer. Winter demand typically has separate morning and evening peaks. Spring and fall demand can be particularly volatile when temperatures swing significantly from week to week. Weekend U.S. electricity demand tends to be lower than weekday demand because schools and many businesses are closed, although this pattern is often reversed when changes in weather coincide with certain days of the week.
Large-scale events that affect normal routines, from expected occurrences such as major holidays to unexpected situations such as the current Covid-19 pandemic, can change the pattern of electricity usage in the country.
ACWA Power Building Hospital
Energy and desalinated water provider ACWA Power has signed an agreement with construction firm THABAT to build an integrated mobile hospital with a 100-bed capacity, fully resourced with the medical equipment and supplies needed to treat COVID-19 cases – the hospital will provide comprehensive healthcare services and aid in handling the pandemic.
The agreement was concluded under the patronage, and in presence of HRH Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Minister of Energy; HE Dr. Tawfiq bin Fawzan Al-Rabiah, Minister of Health; and Mohammad Abunayyan, Chairman of ACWA Power. The signing was executed by Thamer Al Sharhan, representing ACWA Power, and Essam Al Muhaidib, representing THABAT.
Thursday, April 9
Ricardo Joins Virus Fight
As a part of the UK’s national effort to provide much needed personal protective equipment in the fight against COVID-19, engineering consultancy Ricardo announced that it is about to go into production manufacturing face shields which will be used by frontline National Health Service (NHS) healthcare staff as well as by key workers in the care home sector. To ensure that the face shields can get to NHS staff that need them as quickly as possible, facilities at Ricardo’s Technical Centers at Shoreham by Sea in West Sussex and Leamington Spa, England are being repurposed as assembly lines and logistics centers for the face shields. In addition to the supply of face shields to the NHS and others in the UK, Ricardo is looking to make similar initiatives at its facilities in Europe and the US, for the benefit of local communities.
The face shield is being produced to Ricardo’s own design, leveraging its design, engineering and manufacturing expertise, it said. A prototype was delivered by the company’s in-house rapid prototyping team and facilities. However, it said it was quickly realized that rapid prototyping would not provide the volumes of face shields needed or at the speed required.
Ricardo used its manufacturing supply chain expertise to engage with an injection molding partner, to create a tool capable of high-volume manufacture. Using this bespoke tooling, and its engineering design expertise, the team took the opportunity to refine the original rapid prototype design of the face shield for enhanced comfort over extended periods of wear, inviting local NHS doctors to test the new face shield design for comfort and wearability. Tooling and the first batch of units is already in progress and Ricardo will make its first donation of face shields to NHS staff and key frontline workers shortly after Easter.
The company has also offered its services to support the rapid design or conversion of vehicles for use as ambulances and as other support vehicles and has offered the use of some facilities for testing or as logistic centers.
Wednesday, April 8
Changes at Knorr-Bremse
Knorr-Bremse, which makes braking systems and other safety-critical rail and commercial vehicle systems, said most of its sites in Gemany are working short-time from this week due to the virus. In a statement it said:
The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is also leading to far-reaching adaptation measures at Knorr-Bremse. Substantial proportions of customers and suppliers in Europe have temporarily shut down their production plants. Many customers have also reduced capacities in their administration and development departments. Against this backdrop, Knorr-Bremse has reached agreements with employee representatives across Germany with the aim of safeguarding jobs and being able to ramp up production again at any time in close coordination with customers. All parts of Knorr-Bremse are taking a proactive approach and adapting their activities flexibly to the current situation.
“Keeping our customers supplied takes top priority,” says Knorr-Bremse CEO, Bernd Eulitz. “Many of our customers have shut down operations for several weeks and we now have to adapt accordingly. At all our sites we are reconciling the interests of the company, our customers and our employees and together we will overcome the crisis.”
Most of the company’s sites in Germany are working short-time from this week onwards. This mainly affects the Munich and Schwieberdingen sites and the Truck division plants in Aldersbach and Berlin, as well as the Rail division plant in Düsseldorf. In the context of short-time working, between 20 and 60% of production and administrative activities will initially be cut back for around three months, including administration at the parent company Knorr-Bremse AG. The level of short-time working and the agreed duration varies from one site to the next. The largest Truck division plants in Germany – Aldersbach and Berlin – had already begun cutting back working hours in March. An additional contribution by the company will increase employees’ short-time working allowance to around 85%.
“Our joint aim is to safeguard all jobs,” says the Chairman of the Knorr-Bremse Group Works Council, Michael Jell. “At the same time we have to respond flexibly to the market situation because we still want to have a stable and dependable employer when the crisis is over. And we are all making a decisive contribution to this.”
Where necessary and possible, Knorr-Bremse sites in other European countries, such as Italy, Spain and France, and in the USA are also making use of similar programs to help protect employees and ensure job security.
Bombardier reopening train production center
Bombardier said it will restart train production at its Derby, UK, site April 14 after work was halted due to coronavirus restrictions.
The company suspended making trains the factory March 25 following the British government’s decision to introduce tougher social distancing measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19. The facility has about 2000 workers.
Tuesday, April 7
Woodward, Hexcel Call Off Merger
Citing Covid-19, Woodward and Hexcel Corp. announced that the companies have mutually agreed to terminate their merger agreement, previously announced on Jan. 12, 2020, under which the parties had agreed to combine in an all-stock merger of equals.
The termination was approved by the Boards of Directors of both companies and is in response to the increasing impact on both the aerospace and industrial sectors, and global markets broadly, resulting from the health crisis caused by the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. The pandemic has resulted in a need for each company to focus on its respective businesses and has impacted the companies’ ability to realize the benefits of the merger during these unprecedented times.
In a joint statement, Tom Gendron, chairman, CEO and president of Woodward, and Nick Stanage, chairman, CEO and president of Hexcel, said, “While we both believed from the outset, and continue to believe, in the benefits of a combined Woodward and Hexcel, we mutually concluded after careful consideration that given the significant uncertainty in the market, it would not be prudent to continue to pursue the combination and integration of our companies in a merger of equals. Although we are disappointed with this outcome, we are confident this is the right decision for our customers, our shareholders, and our employees as it allows each of us to dedicate our focus and resources toward ensuring Woodward and Hexcel each remain strong and closely connected with our customers and supply chains during these unparalleled times. We continue to be hopeful that our two companies will find opportunities to collaborate on next-generation platforms in the future for the benefit of our customers.”
Neither party will be required to pay the other a termination fee as a result of the mutual decision to terminate the agreement.
Xcel Energy Selling Power Plant, Using Profit To Fund Covid-19 Efforts
Xcel Energy announced it will sell the Mankato Energy Center, a natural gas-fired power plant in Minnesota, to Denver-based Southwest Generation for US$680 million, and plans to use the net gain on the sale to fund its corporate giving efforts, including support related to Covid-19 recovery. The 760 MW will continue to provide electricity to the company’s Upper Midwest customers.
“This is an unprecedented time, and we want to do our part to support our communities as we face the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Ben Fowke, chairman and CEO, Xcel Energy. “The Mankato Energy Center and its workforce provides essential services for local and regional economies and that will not change. And now more than ever, the people we serve need safe, reliable, affordable power.”
“Southwest Generation is excited to add the Mankato Energy Center to our growing portfolio. The plant is a key part of the transition to a lower carbon grid and we’re pleased to expand our relationship with Xcel Energy, which is leading that transition in the United States,” said John Foster, CEO, Southwest Generation.
Xcel Energy purchased the plant in early 2020 through a non-regulated affiliate company
Monday, April 6
Woodward announces furloughs, executive pay cuts
Woodward announced a series of immediate initiatives to address the economic challenges resulting from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which Woodward believes will result in an extended period of uncertainty.
“With the rapid spread of the coronavirus, we are living in unprecedented times, and I want to recognize the hard work and commitment of our employees as we work together to support one another in this challenging environment,” said Thomas A. Gendron, chairman, CEO and president. “As we navigate through the economic disruption caused by this pandemic, we are highly focused on ensuring the safety and well-being of our employees while protecting our business, maintaining our strong position with our customers and suppliers, and closely monitoring the impact on our business and the broader industry. While we have a strong balance sheet and available liquidity, including under our revolving credit facility, management of cash flow will remain a key focus throughout this downturn. We believe the steps we are taking will position us for longer-term growth while preserving our financial strength through this period of global uncertainty.”
Woodward is implementing the following actions:
- Workforce management through a combination of hiring freeze, layoffs and furloughs
- Reduction of company officers’ salaries and directors’ base retainers through 2020 (25% reduction for CEO and independent directors; 10% for all non-CEO officers)
- Implementation of a company-wide wage freeze
- Elimination of annual bonus payments for 2020
- Reduction of all non-essential costs
- Increased focus on reducing working capital
- Limiting capital expenditures to business-critical items
Due to the significant global uncertainty, Woodward is withdrawing its full-year 2020 guidance. The company will provide an updated view of the business and the above actions on its fiscal second-quarter earnings release and conference call.
Woodward’s quarterly dividend was increased from $0.1625 to $0.28 per share as part of the planned dividend yield target for the combined company under the now-terminated merger agreement with Hexcel Corporation. To further preserve financial flexibility, Woodward is now reducing its quarterly dividend to $0.08125 per share, which currently represents approximately a 0.63% dividend yield, in line with the company’s average dividend yield for the 12 months preceding the announcement of the merger.
As part of the original merger announcement, Mr. Gendron, 59, had announced his intention to retire one year following the closing of the merger with Hexcel. With the termination of the merger agreement, Mr. Gendron no longer plans to retire and will continue to serve in his current capacity.
Mr. Gendron concluded, “We believe the steps we are taking, while unfortunate and challenging, will enable us to exit this crisis with momentum while continuing to invest in our future and drive world-class technology through this period of global uncertainty. Woodward has faced many challenges over our 150-year history and, as with previous downturns, we believe we have the ability to emerge from this crisis an even stronger company.”
Stockholder Rights Plan
Woodward today also announced that its Board of Directors has adopted a limited duration stockholder rights plan (the “Rights Plan”), and declared a dividend distribution of one preferred share purchase right under the Rights Plan on each outstanding share of Woodward common stock. The Rights Plan is being adopted in response to the extraordinary business and market dislocations resulting from COVID-19 and the actions taken to contain it, as well as the termination of the Company’s merger-of-equals agreement with Hexcel Corporation as announced today, and not in response to any specific takeover threat.
Updates from Rolls-Royce
This update addresses the measures being taken to protect our people and our business in this challenging period and the impact of disruption from COVID-19 on our financial and operational performance.
Warren East, CEO, said: “We find ourselves in unprecedented times, both as a company and as a key player in vital power markets across the world. Our priority is to do everything we can to safeguard the lives and livelihoods of our people and to play our part in helping our customers, partners and communities. We are taking significant measures to strengthen the operational and financial resilience of our business. I would like to thank all our 52,000 colleagues worldwide for their support, dedication and hard work at this time when difficult decisions are being made.”
To help keep our people safe and minimize operational disruption we have implemented a number of proactive measures, which are aligned with local and national guidelines. This includes introducing remote working practices alongside workplace measures such as social distancing, enhanced hygiene procedures, modified shift systems in our manufacturing facilities and, where necessary, we have temporarily closed certain facilities to all but essential personnel in order to sustain modified operations over a longer period.
The outbreak of COVID-19 is impacting the countries and communities in which we operate and alongside supporting our people through these challenging times, we are providing practical assistance where we can. In the UK, we are part of the VentilatorChallengeUK Consortium which is working to increase the UK’s supply of ventilators. Our role in the consortium is to organize a parallel supply chain to feed in materials as quickly as possible to a number of new assembly plants. Working with the Manufacturing Technology Centre in the UK, expert medical consultant practitioners and supported by Innovate UK, we have also prototyped, developed and put into operation within just one week, a fast-make intubation shield for use with ventilators.
Rolls-Royce exited 2019 in a robust liquidity and financial position as our transformation efforts gained momentum. In response to the change in outlook resulting from the global spread of COVID-19 and to ensure cash headroom in the event of a prolonged reduction in trading activity, we took the precautionary decision in March to draw fully on our £2.5 billion revolving credit facility. Including this cash, which has been placed on short-term deposit, our current gross cash balance is £5.2 billion. We have also secured an additional £1.5 billion revolving credit facility commitment with a consortium of banks, which will increase overall liquidity to £6.7 billion.
The underlying reduction in liquidity in the first quarter primarily reflects our normal adverse seasonal working capital movements, with this being the typical low point for our liquidity. The seasonal movement this year is consistent with our original guidance and in line with amounts seen over each of the past few years. The headwind related to COVID-19 was approximately £300 million, before the impact of mitigations, and largely related to the last six weeks of the period.
The Group has only one outstanding debt maturity in 2020, a $500 million bond due for repayment in the second half of the year. None of our Group borrowing facilities contain any financial covenants nor are they dependent on our public credit rating.
We are executing a number of specific mitigations to reduce our cash expenditure which will have a cash flow benefit of at least £750 million in 2020 in addition to our ongoing transformation plans. These mitigations include minimizing discretionary costs such as non-critical capital expenditure projects, consulting, professional fees and sub-contractor costs, ceasing all non-essential travel, postponing external recruitment, and reducing salary costs across our global workforce by at least 10% in 2020, subject to local legal requirements. Salaries for our senior managers and Executive Team will be reduced by 20% for the rest of 2020, comprising a reduction of 10% and a deferral of 10%, with an additional bonus deferral for the CFO and CEO. There will also be a corresponding reduction in fees for Non-Executive Directors of the Board for the remainder of the year.
Notwithstanding the Group’s financial and liquidity position, the Board has decided that in light of the uncertain macro outlook they are no longer recommending a final shareholder payment of 7.1 pence per share in respect of 2019, equivalent to a further £137 million.
Year to date trading impact of COVID-19
Due to the limited visibility of the duration and impact of the pandemic, we are withdrawing our previously announced financial guidance for 2020.
To date, the primary impact from COVID-19 has been on engine flying hours in our Civil Aerospace business. Widebody flying hours fell by approximately 25% in the first quarter, compared to the prior year, and fell approximately 50% in March, with an expected further deterioration in April and beyond as airlines have grounded an increasing proportion of their fleets over the last few weeks. Output of new widebody engines remained broadly stable in the first quarter as airframe customers maintained production levels. However, our airframe and airline customers are facing unprecedented business challenges and we are in close communication with our customers and suppliers as we prepare for an anticipated reduction in engine delivery and MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) volumes.
Power Systems delivered a relatively resilient performance in a weaker trading environment in the first quarter, helped by our diverse mix of end markets and geographies. Reduced demand from the Chinese market and from our oil and gas customers was partly offset by demand for critical backup power generation. Looking ahead, we expect the reduction in economic activity to affect full-year performance, particularly in industrial markets.
Defense activity remains in line with our expectations, with no material operational or financial disruption as a result of COVID-19 in the first quarter. In the UK and US, the government has designated Rolls-Royce as a critical supplier and our Defence facilities remain operational, while observing all health and safety guidance. We will continue to supply and support the engines that power military aircraft, naval vessels and other vehicles, many of which are being called upon to assist the relief effort.
Our Annual General Meeting is scheduled for 7 May 2020. Information regarding our AGM will be published on our website: http://www.rolls-royce.com.
Friday, April 3
Cummins Takes Additional Actions In Response To COVID-19 Impact
Cummins Inc. provided an update today on the actions it is taking in response to the impact of COVID-19.
“The impact from the pandemic on the global economy has been sudden and is growing, and it is imperative for us to respond quickly to maintain our strong financial position,” said Tom Linebarger, chairman and CEO, Cummins Inc.
In response to lower demand and customer shutdowns in several countries, the company is taking the following temporary actions to lower costs:
– A reduction of 50% in the salary of the CEO.
– A reduction of 25% in director compensation.
– A reduction in salary for all other employees in the United States of between 10 and 25% and a reduction in working hours.
The company will take similar actions outside the United States based on local regulations and collective bargaining obligations. These reductions in pay are intended to be a temporary measure, Cummins said. The company will continue to monitor business conditions closely and reassess the program at the end of the second quarter.
“These are difficult but necessary actions and I know they will have a real impact on the lives of our employees and their families,” Linebarger said. “I appreciate their understanding and support as we work through these challenging times together. I want to thank our employees for their continued commitment to ensuring our customers receive the products and service they need to provide essential support to the global economy.”
Thursday, April 2
InMarsat Offering Crew Voice Calling Discount
In a direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on seafarer well-being, Inmarsat has formalized a sweeping 50% discount for crew voice calling services available for up to 40 000 ships for three months until the end of June.
The maritime satellite service provider is also ensuring that calls made to the SeafarerHelp service provided by welfare organization ISWAN (International Seafarers’ Welfare Assistance Network) are available free of charge over the same period. In addition, Inmarsat is working with crew healthcare specialist Vikand and software platform provider FrontM, to provide a free COVID-19 video call service with a trained health professional.
The voice call discount offer is available day and night from today for three months to Inmarsat retail customers using FleetBroadband ChatCard voice services and to wholesale partners offering FleetBroadband voice calls under the legacy Crew Calling ‘SQT’ brand. Steps are also being taken to accelerate the launch of ChatCard services for Fleet Xpress, with an introductory discount.
“We recognize the unprecedented situation facing seafarers, as the global maritime industry responds to the challenges of COVID-19. The work of the maritime industry is more important than ever before, and essential to keeping global trade flowing and ensuring that vital supplies reach those in need,” says Ronald Spithout, President, Inmarsat Maritime.
Tuesday, March 31
African Utility Week and POWERGEN Africa Pushed Back
Following the South African Government’s announcement of a national state of disaster and subsequent ban on public gatherings of over 100 people in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Clarion Events Africa (formerly Spintelligent) is rescheduling African Utility Week and POWERGEN Africa. The event, which was due to take place from May 12-14, will now run from 24 – 26 November 2020. The venue – CTICC in Cape Town, South Africa – remains unchanged.
African Utility Week and POWERGEN Africa attracts over 10,000 people from more than 90 countries and is the largest energy show in Africa. 2020 marks its 20th anniversary.
“The health and safety of our exhibitors, visitors, employees and the wider public is of paramount importance to us,” said managing director David Ashdown.
“Following the Government’s announcement, we have worked with industry to reschedule African Utility Week and POWERGEN Africa to November, in order to minimise potential health risks to those connected to the event.
“It is expected that the current challenges presented by the Coronavirus will slow down significantly within the next few months, which means the new November date for African Utility Week and POWERGEN Africa will allow us to deliver the most meaningful event in terms of maximising ROI for our exhibitors and excellent content and experiences for our visitors.
“The power sector in South Africa is facing incredibly challenging times. By committing to running the event this year, Clarion Events Africa can continue to drive energy security on the continent, support the local industry and provide business-critical market opportunities to support our exhibitors’ future prosperity.”
Monday, March 30
Waukesha Engine Facility Operating
Waukesha Engine said its manufacturing center in Welland, Ontario, Canada, is up and running.
“We are hard at work supplying our customers engines, parts and services that are crucial to supporting key infrastructure in natural gas and power generation services. We applaud the many people who are supporting this effort, and our thoughts are with all those affected by COVID-19. Together we face the challenge of this crisis, continuing to provide crucial and sustainable resources to our customers and communities.”
Caterpillar Foundation Commits US$8.5 Million To COVID-19 Response
As the events surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic continue to evolve rapidly, the Caterpillar Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Caterpillar Inc., announced it is committing US$8.5 million to support global communities, including underserved populations, affected by the virus.
Cat said the foundation’s investment will support nonprofit organizations that are working to help prevent, detect and respond to the pandemic; providing resources to hospitals, medical staff and patients; addressing food insecurity; and enabling online STEM and coding education for youth impacted by school closures.
“These investments are an important expression of our company’s values,” said Jim Umpleby, Caterpillar chairman and chief executive officer. “As we all work together to fight the pandemic, the Foundation’s resources will provide essential support in communities around the world.”
The Caterpillar Foundation is also expanding its existing U.S. Matching Gifts Program to provide a 2:1 match on employee and retiree donations made to eligible nonprofits beginning March 16 through May 1, per the program conditions that can be found at caterpillar.com/matching-gifts.
“The Caterpillar Foundation is focused on building more sustainable and resilient communities, helping them emerge stronger together during this unprecedented time,” said Asha Varghese, Caterpillar Foundation president. “Our employees and retirees give so generously, and we are proud to amplify their gifts and support our many nonprofit partners working tirelessly to keep our communities safe and prosperous.”
The Foundation’s US$8.5 million investment is being distributed among a number of organizations and COVID-19 funds around the world, including:
– The United Nations Foundation / World Health Organization Solidarity Response Fund.
– The King Baudouin Foundation Fund for Italy.
– The Global Foodbanking Network Global Fund.
– The Feeding America Response Fund.
– The Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
– The Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund.
Earlier this year, the Foundation made a US$250,000 donation to the China Women’s Development Foundation to provide healthcare facilities with critical medical protective materials in China’s Hubei province, where the outbreak initially occurred. In addition to these organizations, the Foundation is collaborating with our global facilities to support local nonprofits contributing to the COVID-19 response efforts.
The Caterpillar Foundation is also a member of the American Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP). Through ADGP support, the American Red Cross is able to help people prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters around the world in partnership with international Red Cross societies, including assisting the International Federation of Red Cross as it coordinates a global response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 Message From WinGD CEO Klaus M. Heim
The unexpected COVID-19 pandemic has impacted everyone and every business around the world. It has created unique challenges for us all.
Our WinGD global team has risen together in this time of crisis to put the necessary steps in place to maintain our operations worldwide, without compromising the health and safety of our employees and our stakeholders. We continue to make the adjustments needed in line with the WHO guidelines and local government recommendations, to keep our people and our community safe, whilst continuing to serve our customers.
Switzerland – Headquarters
- Our test engine program continues to run important projects at our Engine Research and Innovation Centre (ERIC) supporting our Global Test Programs.
- Our experts within our WiDE Support Centre are remotely assisting and monitoring active and ongoing tests.
- We are enhancing our information technology tools to facilitate online meetings and collaborations with our customers and partners.
- The majority of our workforce has shifted to home-office locations where possible.
- We have restricted travel and visitors.
- Our local experts have risen to the challenge to provide the critical on-site support needed when travel was suspended.
- Our remote access capabilities were tested and enhanced to maintain expertise support, preventing business disruption.
- Ongoing collaboration between our global experts ensures that our customers remain supported, while our employee’s safety and wellbeing is maintained.
It is clear that the pandemic impact is far-reaching and that it will forever change the way we interact and do business. In some ways, those changes will be positive as we shift towards a more sustainable way of doing business.
On a daily basis, we are demonstrating that we are a company with dedicated and compassionate people, capable of incredible flexibility and willingness to adapt and change. The result has been a remarkable continuation of our day-to-day business. We continue to grow and learn through these extraordinary times and I am confident that we will be an even stronger company when this crisis dissipates.
To our customers, we thank you and we assure you that we remain committed to providing proven, reliable propulsion solutions. We look forward to the day when we can meet again.
Statement From Siemens Deputy CEO
A statement from Roland Busch, deputy CEO, CTO, CHRO and member of the managing board of Siemens AG:
Never have my days started with so many difficult questions: How many of our colleagues have been infected with the virus and what is their condition? What else can we do to keep our colleagues in our factories, in the field and in service safe? What can we do to support parents with children? Do we need to temporarily shut down a factory? What else can we do to support our customers? How is our supply chain? When will this be over and how will our world change due to COVID-19 crisis?
Like everyone else, the coronavirus is weighing on my mind. And these are the questions that our management and Covid-19 crisis teams are evaluating daily. We are taking whatever measures are necessary to prevent the virus from spreading and to keep our employees safe, while continuing to support our customers as best as we can.
I am extremely grateful to our employees for their efforts and commitment here, as they juggle work and family commitments. I especially want to thank those employees who leave their homes and families, to work in the field, in service, at customer sites and in our factories. This hit home for me once again on my recent visit to our locomotive plant in Munich-Allach. And I was deeply struck as Gertz Kupetz, Head of Operations and Klaus Weber from the Workers Council told me about the commitment and dedication of our employees during this difficult time.
By continuing to support our customers and partners, we can be proud that our employees, like those in Munich-Allach or the service team at the Guangzhou Airport and many other locations, are helping the critical systems that the world relies on – healthcare facilities, power plants, industrial facilities, transportation systems and much more – to remain operational.
In these uncertain times, it is reassuring to hear encouraging stories of how companies and technology are helping with efforts to combat the virus. Here at Siemens, Klaus Helmrich announced that we are opening our additive manufacturing network platform to healthcare organizations for medical device design and 3D printing. While our colleagues in China, who wanted to help with local efforts, developed an intelligent disinfectant robot in record time.
While we don’t know how long this crisis will last, economies will recover and we at Siemens will play our part in this. What gives me confidence is how people at Siemens and other organizations are stepping up to the challenge in these difficult times. Especially those people working on the frontline to combat this virus, like healthcare workers, to whom we owe a huge debt of gratitude. Let’s help them by doing what we can to flatten the curve. Please take care of yourself and your family and friends.
Friday, March 27
Rolls Moving Forward With China Strategy
Rolls-Royce said it is moving forward with its growth strategy in China despite the challenges posed by COVID-19.
VPower Group, one of the world’s leading system integrators in the power generation sector, has become a new distributor for MTU products in China. The company has been integrating MTU engines and systems for more than 10 years into their customer solutions. The new distribution agreement covers the sales and maintenance of MTU engines and gensets for marine commercial and gas power generation.
Based in Hong Kong, VPower Group has been a close partner of Rolls-Royce for many years and has already integrated around 3 GW (equivalent to more than 1000 engines) of MTU power products into its power solutions around the world, backed by its R&D, application and service teams to support global demand. Currently, VPower Group is a leading engine-based distributed power station owner and operator with successful projects in many countries. VPower Group provides solutions for natural gas, biogas, LNG, CHP, ORC and offshore vessels.
“We are delighted to be taking our successful and close relationship with VPower Group to a new level and welcome our partner as an integral part of our global distribution network,” said Tobias Ostermaier, president MTU Greater China, Rolls-Royce Power Systems. “VPower Group brings expertise and the capacity to package turnkey gas power projects in China and, most importantly, a strong network in the marine industry that will support our market share expansion in China. Together with VPower Group, we want to make MTU the brand of choice for engines and systems in the Chinese commercial shipping and gas powergen segments and realize the significant growth potential in these market segments.”
Samson Lam, Chairman of VPower Group, said that both gas power generation and commercial shipping applications in China offer great growth potential and the company wants to “exploit that potential together with Rolls-Royce as well as to co-develop the LNG marine market.”
In addition to its new role as distributor, VPower Group will continue to integrate and sell MTU gas systems as part of its own solution offering. The relationship between Rolls-Royce and VPower Group has been in place since 2008 and has developed steadily over the years. Today, VPower Group is the world’s largest operator of MTU power generation systems with a wide range of applications in China and other countries. In particular for the marine sector, VPower Group has ordered dozens of MTU engines for liftboats, fire boats, command and tourist vessels.
Expanding market share, establishing and deepening partnerships in China are key to the success of the PS 2030 strategy, under which Rolls-Royce Power Systems is currently transforming itself from an engine manufacturer to a provider of integrated power solutions. Rolls-Royce has been producing MTU engines in China since 2006. In addition, Rolls-Royce formed MTU Yuchai Power, a joint venture with Chinese diesel engine manufacturer Guangxi Yuchai Machinery Co., in 2017. The company produces MTU Series 4000 engines for power generation in its plant in Yulin, Guangxi Province.
Europort Romania Rescheduled
Organizers of Europort Romania released the following statement:
Due to the intrusive measures international governments and health authorities have taken to counter the global COVID-19 crisis, we are closely monitoring these developments and will continue to do so. The health and safety of our participants, visitors and employees are paramount and shall always prevail when organizing our events.
For the sake of all stakeholders we adhere to the guidelines stipulated by the Romanian Ministry and international health authorities. For this reason we have no alternative than to reschedule Europort Romania to another date. Because it is still hard to predict how the COVID-19 virus will develop over the next months and how soon life and business can turn to recovery, we have therefore decided to reschedule Europort Romania to 18-20 May 2021.
Thursday, March 26
Siemens Offers Additive Manufacturing Capabilities
In response to the ongoing global health crisis caused by the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, Siemens is making its Additive Manufacturing (AM) Network along with its 3D printers, available to the global medical community to speed design and production of medical components.
The AM Network connects users, designers and 3D-print service providers to enable faster and less complicated production of spare parts for machines like ventilators. The Siemens AM network is available globally and covers the entire value chain – from upload and simulation to checking the design up to the printing process and associated services.
Doctors, hospitals and organizations in need of medical devices as well as designers and service providers with medically certified printing capacities can register for free access to the Siemens AM Network.
“Having worked on Additive Manufacturing for years, we offer AM solutions along the entire value chain and can print 3D parts quickly according to acute demands. To help fight COVID-19, we have opened our AM Network for hospitals and other health institutions needing spare medical parts to efficiently manage their design and printing requests”, said Klaus Helmrich, Member of the Managing Board of Siemens AG and CEO Siemens Digital Industries.
Siemens’ designers and engineers are a part of the AM Network so they can answer design requests and help convert designs into printable files. Afterwards, these components can be printed via medically certified 3D printers of partner companies that are also part of the AM Network. In addition to numerous 3D printers from partner companies, Siemens’ 3D printing machines are also connected to the network and if suitable, will also be used to locally print components and spare parts for medical devices. Printing capacities from additional service providers can easily be added to the AM Network.
Hannover Messe Upended
Citing fallout from the coronavirus, organizers of the industrial trade fair Hannover Messe have decided to cancel this year’s live event and reschedule until April 12-16 2021.
Although the in-person event won’t happen this year, organizers said they were “working intensely” on what they termed a digital information and networking platform. Details will be released later.
“Hannover Messe cannot take place this year due to the increasingly critical situation surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic,” organizers said in a release. “The Hannover region has issued a decree that prohibits the staging of the world’s leading tradeshow for industrial technology. From now until the next Hannover Messe in April 2021, a digital information and networking offer will provide exhibitors and visitors with the opportunity for economic policy orientation and technological exchange.
“Given the dynamic development around Covid-19 and the extensive restrictions on public and economic life, Hannover Messe cannot take place this year,” says Dr. Jochen Köckler, chairman of the Board of Management, Deutsche Messe AG. “Our exhibitors, partners and our entire team did everything they could to make it happen, but today we have to accept that in 2020 it will not be possible to host the world’s most important industrial event.”
Wednesday, March 25
Bombardier Suspends Train Work At UK Plant
Bombardier has suspended train production at its Derby, UK, site following the government’s introduction of stricter rules to combat COVID-19.
In a statement, Bombardier said: “In the current unprecedented circumstances, we want to protect our people from COVID-19, support the UK Government’s efforts to delay and mitigate the virus, and to ensure sustainable business continuity.
“Following the new Government social distancing measures announced on Monday night, Bombardier Transportation UK has made the difficult decision to temporarily pause rolling stock production at our Derby site, heavy maintenance at our Ilford site, and component refurbishment and overhaul at our Crewe site.
Tuesday, March 24
Message From Fairbanks Morse George Whittier
We are all in a historic and challenging time as the country and world work to limit the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). As the effects of COVID-19 evolve, I wanted to share a few words with our customers and the industry.
As a supplier to the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard, energy, transportation, and health services sectors, Fairbanks Morse is designated as both critical infrastructure and an essential business under both federal and state Shelter-in-Place/Stay-at-Home orders. Although our facilities will remain operational to support our customers during this difficult time, Fairbanks Morse has implemented strict guidelines and procedures to keep our customers, employees, their families, and our communities safe. We are taking all necessary health and safety precautions in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and following state and national health guidelines. Fairbanks Morse has also implemented a work from home policy where possible. Our staff is strictly practicing social distancing, and the company is providing health and safety tools to employees in our facilities, such as hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes. Employees that are critical to our manufacturing operations will continue to come into our facilities, and we have put in place strict health and safety measures to ensure their safety and that of the surrounding community.
We recognize that it is vital for the defense sector and other critical industries in our country to count on us for support. Just this week, we are preparing engines for the U.S. Navy’s hospital ship, USNS Comfort, to help in the fight against COVID-19. Therefore, our facilities will continue to operate.
Finally, I want to thank everyone who is doing their part to help keep our communities and our country safe.
Haynes International Enters Temporary Shut-down
Haynes International, a producer of alloys used in power generation technologies and other markets, will be shutting down operations for the next two weeks. The company provided this guidance late last week: “These are unprecedented times for our country and our company. Our responsibility is to take action to keep our employees safe while also working to manage the financial well-being of our company,” said Mike Shor, President and Chief Executive Officer. The company has already implemented staggered shifts, cleaning between shifts and social distancing and hygiene policies. However, the current widespread impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to the decision to implement a temporary shut-down of two weeks in most of the company’s production operations beginning next week. During this time, we will continue to thoroughly clean and sanitize our facilities and will work on plans on how best to structure restart plans. The Company is confident in its liquidity position as it has a strong balance sheet and a net cash position.
Dura-Bar Operations Continue
Dura-Bar operations continue across all sites. We have not experienced any material shipment delays from our suppliers and maintain inventory of all materials necessary to continue manufacturing operations. We are committed to keeping our customers supplied, and measures to prevent the spread of COVID19 in our facilities remain in place with strict monitoring. We implemented planned overtime to support continuation of on-time shipments. We adjusted near-term schedules to balance demand with capacity.
Capstone Makes Changes
Capstone Turbine Corp., a manufacturer of microturbine energy systems, announced that in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic the company would be furloughing approximately 70% of its direct workforce, leaving behind only staff deemed essential for day-to-day administrative operations for a minimum period of 45 days.
The company’s leadership team is also taking a 25% temporary salary cut. Twenty-five other top company managers also volunteered to take 15% pay cuts.
“With over 1000 confirmed cases in California and a “Shelter-in-Place” order for all of California, we enacted an emergency Business Continuity Plan designed to keep employees safe, continue to support our critical Aftermarket Factory Protection Plan (FPP) long-term service contracts and spare parts deliveries to our Essential Critical Infrastructure Customers, such as Energy, Health Care, Wastewater Treatment, etc. as well as to sustain our key long-term business initiatives,” said Darren Jamison, President and Chief Executive Officer of Capstone. “In these unprecedented and uncertain times, the health and safety of our Capstone and distributor employees, their families, and our communities are of the highest importance as well as doing everything possible to still deliver on our stated goal of positive EBITDA by reducing operating expenses and leveraging our high margin reoccurring revenue streams,” added Mr. Jamison.
As part of the comprehensive Business Continuity Plan, Capstone is taking the following steps:
- Beginning March 30, Capstone is furloughing approximately 70% of its direct workforce, leaving behind only staff deemed essential for day-to-day administrative operations for a minimum period of 45 days. This will ensure those who remain can more easily practice safe and proper social distancing.
- During this period (March 30th – May 18th), Capstone will have a limited production capability of new microturbine products, but has recently pre-built approximately 5MW of microturbine finished goods for shipment during this period of suspended production.
- Capstone will maintain a crew of essential operations employees to manufacture service engines, remanufacture spare parts and provide service spares in support of FPPs and global distributor spare parts orders and is pre-building and shipping immediately to sustain our critical customer sites during this time of uncertainty.
“I was overwhelmed by how quickly the executive leadership of the company volunteered to reduce their salaries to support our ability to provide medical benefits for all furloughed employees as well as to reduce operating expenses to offset the impact of lower revenues as a result of COVID-19,” Jamison said.
Capstone expects the ongoing, global economic impact from the COVID-19 pandemic to have an adverse impact on its revenue and adjusted EBITDA for the fourth quarter of Fiscal 2020 and also may have an adverse impact on its financial condition and results of operations for the first quarter of Fiscal 2021. Although Capstone is currently attempting to take all reasonable steps to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the COVID-19 pandemic will negatively impact its net income and adjusted EBITDA in Fiscal 2020, which includes losses related to new product order delays for ongoing projects, backlog pushouts in the oil and gas markets, witness test cancellations due to travel restrictions, supply chain shortages caused by vendor manufacturing plant shutdowns, increased logistics costs caused by flight cancellations, border shutdowns and lack of personnel to move freight, and anticipated order cancellations, among other challenges. Capstone may also be unable to comply with the financial and other material covenants under its debt and other material agreements, and may not be able to negotiate waivers or amendments to such material agreements in order to maintain ongoing compliance. In addition, if Capstone experiences any additional unexpected delays in the resumption of its full production capacity or incurs additional unanticipated costs and expenses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, such production delays and unanticipated costs and expenses will have a further adverse impact on Capstone’s business, financial condition and results of operations in Fiscal 2020 and 2021.
Monday, March 23
Date Clash Causes Marine Show Cancellation
The flurry of trade show rearrangements prompted by the Coronavirus has led to the complete demise, for this year, of the Electric & Hybrid Marine World Expo.
Last week the organizers of the Amsterdam event said it was rescheduling the show to Oct. 27-29. However, in a statement today, show organizers said, “Many of you will now be aware of the extremely unfortunate timing of both our and Posidonia’s new dates announcement. Neither our Greek friends nor us could have possibly known that we’d chosen the same alternative dates within hours of each other.”
Posidonia is a Greek shipping exhibition that also recently announced it was switching show dates to the Oct. 26-30 at the Athens Metropolitan Expo.
“We are aware that thanks to Covid-19 and the rescheduling of shows, the industry now faces the prospect of attending almost a year’s worth of shows in just the three-month period between September and the end of November,” the statement added. “And so we have taken the decision to cancel Electric & Hybrid Marine World Expo 2020. The show, which we launched in 2014 and have seen more than triple in size as the industry moves to cleaner, cheaper and more efficient propulsion systems, will absolutely return June 22, 23, 24 next year – bigger and better than ever.”
Friday, March 20
Rolls-Royce Statement On COVID-19
Rolls-Royce Power Systems sent the following statement:
“The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic also affect Rolls-Royce business unit Power Systems and its employees. Protecting their health is our number one priority. At the same time, we are using all the means at our disposal to keep the business running as best as we can – in accordance with all the rules and regulations,” said Norbert Veser, head of the Power Systems crisis management team. “Thousands of employees work in the home office wherever possible. In the production plants, the employees keep the greatest possible distance.
“They work in separate shifts and we disinfect the workplaces between shifts. We keep the manufacturing facilities active in that way so that we can continue to serve as many customers of our MTU products as possible. Because of Covid-19, we will not be able to keep all planned delivery times, but we do what we can: in production, in the office and in service.”
KHL Issues Statement On Coronavirus
The parent company of Diesel & Gas Turbine Worldwide issued the following statement regarding the ongoing coronavirus emergency:
As a business and as individuals we are facing the same challenges as you – our readers, advertisers, clients, partners and suppliers.
We are all taking action to contain the COVID-19 virus and to safeguard our families, employees and our businesses. The majority of KHL’s staff around the world have moved to home working, and that may become all of us if government measures in the UK and USA change. We are pleased, however, that our Chinese colleagues in Shanghai and Beijing are now moving back into their offices and starting to resume normal working. That is a comforting reminder that this situation will not last forever.
There are aspects of our business that have had to change. We have already postponed several conferences and events, and others may follow. We are working with our partners and other events organizers to make sure that these changes work for the wider industry.
We are a publishing, events and data company, and providing up-to-date, accurate information for businesses is what we do. That will not change during the outbreak. In fact we know that businesses require more information, not less, during these times.
KHL journalists based throughout the world are continuing to work with the aim of bringing news and clarity to a rapidly changing situation. Our website has seen record levels of visitors, drawn by our ability to provide a global perspective on events as they unfold.
We have a rolling news story on Coronavirus on our website, providing stories and information from all over the world. We are also now producing a high-frequency newsletter, Construction & Coronavirus, focusing on the impact that COVID-19 is having on construction – on sites, in factories, and in offices. You will be able to subscribe to the newsletter here very soon.
As many of you may be working from home, we remind you that you can read your KHL magazine in digital format. You can subscribe for free here. If you would like us to temporarily redirect your paper copy to a home address, we can do that. Please contact us by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org
We know that as an industry we can weather this unprecedented event and come back stronger. We send you our best wishes.
AVL Large Engine TechDays Rescheduled
The organizers of the AVL Large Engine TechDays released the following:
The coronavirus pandemic is profoundly changing the daily life of each and every one of us. As a globally active company constantly aware of its responsibility, AVL recognized the seriousness of the situation and immediately took several measures that are necessary to protect our employees and, of course, our customers and suppliers.
Due to these far-reaching precautionary measures and the strict regulations of the Austrian Federal Government, the AVL Large Engines TechDays 2020 scheduled for April this year unfortunately have to be postponed.
New event date:
21–22 April, 2021,
Helmut-List-Halle in Graz, Austria
If you have any questions, please contact our customer service, E-mail and phone contacts are listed below.
We thank you in advance for your understanding and look forward to seeing you next year.
AVL Event Team
Phone: +43 316 787 927
Thursday, March 19
“Open For Business”
Under a headline “We are open for Business”, MAN Energy Solutions released the following statement:
As Covid-19 spreads all around the world, we are aware that our customers, partners and suppliers are facing unique challenges – as are we at MAN Energy Solutions.
Rest assured that the safety and well-being of our personnel and those of our customers’ is our utmost priority. Since the first outbreaks of the Covid-19 virus, MAN Energy Solutions has followed developments closely, all the while considering the probable scenarios at the highest level. Accordingly, we have taken all necessary precautions to remain open for business and serve our customers’ needs.
We have installed crisis teams, both at local and companywide level, to facilitate quick reactions and decision-making as necessary.
Some of the measures we have taken include:
restricting business travel from a very early stage to an absolute minimum. With more than 140 sites worldwide, we are leveraging the power of our local network to remain readily available to our customers;
using digital channels to hold meetings, seminars etc.;
using home offices on a broad scale throughout the company;
educating our staff and raising awareness of optimal hygiene and effective antiviral-protection measures;
limiting and strictly monitoring third party access to our sites and workshops;
offering in-depth advice and counselling via our Health and Security experts and Medical Staff;
our service engineers carrying state-of-the-art personal protective equipment.
MAN Energy Solutions operates a global business and, as such, it would be naïve to believe that Covid-19 would not affect our organization. We can assure you that – all around our global network – our employees and managers are closely monitoring the situation, following all local and national guidelines, and thinking ahead and taking proactive measures.
There is no blueprint for such an unprecedented situation like this. That said, we are very determined to keep up the high standards and service levels that our customers have come to expect.
AVL Large Engines TechDays Moved To 2021
The 9th AVL Large Engines TechDays, a technical conference held every three years in Austria, will not be held in April as originally scheduled, organizers said.
“The coronavirus pandemic is profoundly changing the daily life of each and every one of us. As a globally active company constantly aware of its responsibility, AVL recognized the seriousness of the situation and immediately took several measures that are necessary to protect our employees and, of course, our customers and suppliers.
“Due to these far-reaching precautionary measures and the strict regulations of the Austrian Federal Government, the AVL Large Engine Tech Days 2020 scheduled for April this year unfortunately have to be postponed.
New event date:
21–22 April, 2021, in Graz, Austria.”